Even though I haven't blogged about Romans 12 in a while, I have been continuing my study of this amazing chapter in God's Word. When I last blogged I shared that God revealed to me three commands found in Romans 12:1-2. Today I will focus on the second command: "Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind."
Paul is addressing a huge issue here: renewing our minds! Making resolutions are all well and good, but here in Romans 12 Paul is leading us to a higher calling: Transformation. I guess for the purpose of this blog we might describe transformation as putting those resolutions into daily practice through sacrificial living. I don't know about you, but I find that very hard to do!
Let's look at some other passages in the Word of God that discuss this transformation by the renewing of our minds:
1. Ephesians 4:17-24 "With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy."
- In writing to the church at Ephesus Paul instructs his readers to "throw off" the old sinful nature of the flesh. When I was in high school I had the great experience of having a junebug placed on the back of my arm by one of the boys in the youth group at my church. Seriously. I recall very vividly how quickly I flung that creepy bug across the room - and I did so with quite a loud outburst! This is how I imagine Paul is instructing us to "throw off" the old sinful nature - if a girl wrote this she would say: "Fling it away, be repulsed by it and try to get it as far away from you as you can!"
James 1:21-22 "So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves."
- James was most likely the first of the New Testament books to be written, and in the first chapter of the book the author is already having to remind Christ Followers to get rid of the "filth and evil" in their lives! I think this must be a common struggle. And this is exactly what is so hard about putting resolutions into daily practice! Get it done - don't just talk about it, do it!
Ephesians 5: 8-11 "For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them."
- When Christ Followers allow the Light of the World to transform their minds, Christ expects (in fact commands) them to live like it! Paul tells us here in Ephesians 5 that we are to take no part in the evil deeds of darkness, and he goes a step further and instructs us to expose them.